Background: We review a three-year series of cases with pneumatic retinopexy (PR), specifically evaluating failures and suggesting a new mechanism of failure.
Methods: One hundred and thirty-five consecutive patients who underwent PR for rhegmatogenous retinal detachments were included. The primary outcome measure was the characteristics of PR failures. Secondary outcome measures included preoperative clinical characteristics.
Results: Seventy-five percent of the patients had successful results with PR; 100% were ultimately reattached with additional surgery. All but 1 failure (97%) occurred within the first postoperative month and 85% occurred by postoperative Day 10. The most common cause of failure was a new detachment from a new break (23 of 35 failures). Risk factors for failure included presenting visual acuity worse than 20/60 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.89), male gender (OR = 1.52), age >60 years (OR = 1.32), >2 breaks (OR = 1.28), pseudophakia/aphakia (OR = 1.20), and detachments after trabeculectomy (OR = 2.43). Lattice degeneration, high myopia (>−6.00 diopters), left eye, detachment after cataract surgery or yttrium aluminum garnet capsulotomy had minimal influence on outcome (all OR < 1.10).
Conclusion: Characterization of PR failures will improve patient selection. We have named a new complication secondary to a patient performing the steamroller maneuver five times the “pneumatic pump.”